Monday, March 24, 2014

Answer to a Dilemma

A dilemma has been plaguing me all TV season.  I had been watching "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" on ABC but like a lot of people it just wasn't working for me.  That got me wondering why not and what I would have preferred they'd done with the show.  I didn't really have an answer until last Wednesday when I watched the "Suicide Squad" episode of CW's "Arrow."

In the comic book world the Suicide Squad is a group of DC villains who are captured by the government and forced into working for the side of law & order.  I'm sure over the years there's been a lot of incarnations of the group.  On "Arrow" it was the assassin Deadshot, the knife-wielding maniac Bronze Tiger, the Arrow's bodyguard/ex-soldier John Diggle, and his ex-wife/government agent Lila.  They have to go to Markova to find some kind of nerve gas before it can be used to kill a bunch of people.

The episode itself was probably only a 3/5 in my book.  It probably needed to be two parts an I would have liked to see more Bronze Tiger, but the potential was definitely there.  If (or when) they make a spin-off series I would definitely want to watch.

As I said, when I was watching it occurred to me this is what the SHIELD show should have been.  Agents who can kick a lot of ass going around doing secret spy stuff.  Not goofy hipsters flying around doing bullshit X-Files ripoffs.  There is no doubt that in a crossover the Suicide Squad would whoop the hell out of SHIELD because half the SHIELD team is absolutely useless in a fight.

That was the answer to the riddle of how to "fix" SHIELD, at least for me.  I mean I like Coulson but what they needed were characters more like Black Widow and Nick Fury--at least the comic book Nick Fury because the movie one hasn't done a lot so far except boss people around.  I want characters who can kick a lot of ass.  Or to put it another way, I'd prefer the A-Team to Scooby-Doo.  I don't think I'm alone on that score.

I remember an article said somewhat mockingly, "What do you want, a bunch of C-list heroes?"  Not really.  I don't really need people in capes and tights or with superpowers.  I think the Suicide Squad episode proved you don't need capes or superpowers; just regular badasses will do fine.

Because I can't resist a good shameless plug, I did a Suicide Squad thing of my own in the third Girl Power book, League of Evil.  Basically imagine if when the world was in a crisis Robin goes out and recruits Iron Man, Black Widow, and a dialed-down Hulk (only if they were all evil) and they fight other villains to save the day.  None of those characters had superpowers per se; the Hulk-ish character is more of a Missing Link.

Anyway, it's probably too late to save Agents of SHIELD, at least for me.  I'll just have to wait for a Suicide Squad show in the future.


  1. Agents of SHIELD has become a filler for the movies. They need more easter eggs similar to Arrow. Like you I don't need Meda Humans or super powers, just a good kick butt story that I can become vested in.

  2. Thank you. You know, I really wanted to like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I really did. I tried to like it. In fact, I am still watching it, wondering what went wrong and hoping they can pull it together somehow. Like you, I have been trying to pinpoint just what it is that makes it so mediocre. At first, it was a major lack of chemistry between the characters. I think you hit the nail on the head with the Scooby Doo comparison. They have been trying to make it more of a drama than an action show, which is weird. They are trying to keep everyone coming back just to find out who this, " Clairvoyant," ends up being. I have to wonder where you go from there, once that cat is out of the bag. I have been really disappointed with the whole series. I don't know what I expected from it, exactly. But, I know that this isn't it.

  3. When I think of Scooby-Doo, I think first of the hijinks aspect with Shaggy and Scooby, not the more competent Fred and Velma. (Depending on the version, Daphene can be either hapless or capable.) Maybe part of the problem is putting characters in situations they're not equipped to handle, especially if there's corresponding personal growth. This comment is strictly based on your description, as I haven't seen the show.

  4. I still haven't seen SHIELD, but I liked the first season of Arrow well enough.

  5. I've never watched either of them, but your analysis seems pretty good. On the other hand, there is room for a "Scooby-Doo"-ish show on TV, if it's GOOD, and SHIELD doesn't seem to be doing that for you, so I suspect that if they just went all badass and had SHIELD people going to Markova to get nerve gas, they'd still do it terribly.

    Think how many shows more or less copy the same general idea of a very good show, and do it badly. For every "Lost" or "Fringe" there are a bunch of shows that forget that even with weird stuff happening, you still need good writing.

  6. Yes, you're onto something here. That's a huge reason why I stopped watching SHIELD. They all seemed pretty useless and ineffective. Nothing heroic about them.